Out of 2,300 entries from this week’s Philadelphia marathon, it's 28-year-old Michele Elbertson, a preschool special-needs teacher from New Jersey, who is lucky enough to be featured in this month’s Runner’s World.
Why shouldn’t she be there? She is a super class role model.
In 2010, she weighed 427 lbs. and is now down to 159 lbs. – that’s 268 lbs. she has shed on her quest for better health! What’s more, she has 38 half marathons, 6 marathons, countless local races and one ultra-marathon under her belt.
When she was 23, the doctors told her she would be lucky to live four years with her weight.
"He sat me down and looked at me and said if you don't get your life together you are not going to live another four years," Elbertson says.
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The shocking reality check made Michele rethink her life choices.
Four years down the lane, she is not only alive, but healthy and fit as well and is all geared up run the Philadelphia Marathon this weekend.
Those who know her call her the running bug.
Her journey has not been an easy one, but though it has been long, it has also been fulfilling and rewarding.
In 2010, she had lap band surgery to shrink the size of her stomach and was able to shed 100 pounds by next year. She celebrated by running her first race. She hasn’t stopped since.
She’s been running, eating smartly, lifting weights and doing Zumba and Bokwa fitness.
“Running not only has given me my life back with my weight loss, but it has shown me that I am capable of much more than I ever thought was possible. It has given me confidence and a sense of self-worth that I have never had before! It has also given me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world; some of which have become some of my closest friends!" she claims.
Now that’s a real-life inspiration.